The Alexander Wang sweatshirt (left) and Pixie Market knockoff (right)Designer sweatshirts seemed like an absurd concept when they emerged in 2012, but, like many popular street styles (sneakers, baseball hats, backpacks), they've since become "it" garments, with popular styles selling out in mere days. According to Stylecaster, fashion house Kenzo's hyped Tiger sweatshirt was out of stock in two days at retailer Opening Ceremony. All the originals are long gone, but you may be able to find a Tiger sweatshirt in a less popular color (amidst dozens of fakes) on eBay for a marked-up $400. Hoping to cash in on the craze, cool brands of varying price points – from J.Crew to Givenchy – have released countless sweatshirts featuring graphic designs, some even decorated with jewels. And they're all selling out.
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Urban Outfitters (left) and Forever 21 (right) have also copied the Alexander Wang designThis spring's new must-have sweatshirt comes from New York City's hottest downtown designer, Alexander Wang. His white sweatshirt with sheer panels and Parental Advisory Explicit Content logo (the one stuck on album art since 1993) creates the perfect blend of nostalgia and rebellion for trend-chasing millennials. Just days after his fashion show in September, Rihanna, a Wang devotee, was mysteriously spotted wearing a Parental Advisory top, most likely a customized creation from Wang himself. Editors, bloggers, store buyers, and fashionistas were immediately foaming at the mouth to get one. When the shirt became available for pre-order on the website Moda Operandi for a whopping $995, the price clearly didn't deter devotees. The item sold out, naturally, and isn't scheduled for delivery until sometime between February and April.
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Thankfully for the retail industry, Wang's design has been easy to copy for those who can't wait that long or rationalize spending a grand on a sweatshirt. About two weeks after the original walked the runway, Forever 21 released a $13.90 black tank version with a twist on the logo, reading "New York Advisory Explicit Content." Urban Outfitters, which had apparently already been selling a $44 grey sweatshirt with the logo, started heavily promoting its version online and in store windows as a nod to Wang's runway look. But this week Pixie Market, a New York-based boutique and e-tailer, went the full-on knockoff route with a sweatshirt nearly identical to Wang's for just $33. The logo isn't an absolute perfect match, but the sheer mesh panels with opaque white accents make it the next best thing to an authentic Wang sweatshirt.
Why all the hype over this particular design? Aside from referencing the '90s – the fashion industry's current go-to decade for trend resurrection – classic logos are also poised to have a moment this year. In the wake of irritating designer spoof logos like Celfie and Homies (Celine and Hermes), fashion labels like DKNY shout their iconic logos from dresses and tops. And tastemakers like Marc Jacobs put the unmistakable red and white Coca-Cola swish (he's serving as the soft drink's creative director) on a sweatshirt also likely to fly off shelves quickly. While minimal, quiet, logo-less designs replaced all-over-print logos (think Coach bags) in recent years, look for hit-you-over-the-head logos splashed on clothing and accessories in the months to come.
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